Citizens has whittled down coverage under its HO-3 policies by limiting coverage for interior damage resulting from a roof leak. Specifically, Citizens newer policies contain the following language:
SECTION I PERILS INSURED AGAINST
COVERAGE A DWELLING AND COVERAGE B OTHER STRUCTURES
We insure against risk of direct loss to property described in Coverages A and B only if that loss is a physical loss to property. We do not insure, however, for loss:
2. Caused by:
h. Rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust to the interior of a building unless a covered peril first damages the building causing an opening in a roof or wall and the rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust enters through this opening.
Prior to this limitation, interior damage caused by a roof leak was usually covered because it was considered an ensuing loss resulting from wear and tear (or deterioration) to the roof. As a result of this new language in Citizens policy, the homeowner must now show that a covered peril (i.e. a windstorm) caused an opening in the roof which allowed water to enter into the interior of the home.
While Citizens continues to raise its rates, it also continues to modify its policy to exclude or limit common claims experienced by large percentage of its policyholders. It is likely that Citizens may deny upcoming roof leak claims unless they are caused by a named windstorm, such as a Tropical Storm or Hurricane.